10 Most Profitable Investments in History

most profitable investments

Whether you run a business or draw a fixed salary every month, it’s wise to put aside some of the money earned as savings. However, it’s even wiser to use some of your earnings for investments. In case you are new to the concept, then you can also start with short-term investments that are less risky.

most profitable investments

The following are the top 10 most profitable investments in history:

  1. Ford Motor Co.

In 1903, Alexander Y. Malcomson set up a car company with Henry Ford which we now know as Ford Motor Company. Malcomson recruited 12 investors; one of them, his uncle John Gray, invested $10,500 in the company. Although Gray did not directly benefit from the investment himself, his heirs certainly did. This is because when Ford bought the stock back from the investors in 1919, they earned a whopping $26.25 million.  That’s 2,500 times return on the initial investment! If you were to adjust this amount with inflation, then it would be around $1.8 billion today!

  1. Coca-Cola

Coca-Cola was named one of the world’s most valuable brands in 2018 and is likely to hold this position for many more years to come. However, it was not the company that invented the popular drink, it was a local pharmacist who went by the name John Stith Pemberton who came up with the formula, even if accidentally.

Pemberton was an officer in the Civil war and an injury led to the discovery of what we know as Coca-Cola today. However, his recipe didn’t generate enough revenue when he sold the drinks himself. Years later, he sold it to Asa Candler for $2,300 in 1891.  Chandler then sold the same recipe in 1923 for $25 million! Talk about ROI!

  1. Facebook

Facebook might be a big deal today. However, back in the day, no one thought that a small networking website created by a few Harvard students would grow into such a huge entity that it’s become today. However, Peter Thiel, one of the original investors, might have had better foresight. He invested $500,000 in the company in 2005. His return was 800 times the initial investment as he sold all 25 million shares of Facebook for $400 million in 2012.

  1. McDonald’s

McDonald’s isn’t just a fast-food company, it’s become synonymous with the American culture itself through different activities like organizing one of the most awesome thanksgiving day parades. However, few know the story of Ray Kroc who invested $2.7 million in the company in 1961.  Kroc helped the brothers who owned McDonald’s to franchise the restaurants for many years. He earned a sizeable return of $500 million in 1984.

  1. eBay

Amazon is easily the leader of the global e-commerce industry today. However, eBay is not far behind and trying to come up with new ways to boost business. One way in which eBay is attempting to do so is through the use of artificial intelligence. Benchmark Capital clearly understood the vision of this e-commerce giant back in 1995 as it invested $6.7 million and saw the company’s valuation rise to over $5 billion within just 4 years.

  1. Google

In 1999 Google raised a Series B round of $12.5 million each from Sequoia Capital and Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers.  Google struggled to keep them on its side as the market position of the company went through lots of downs for many years. However, when the company went ahead with IPO in 2004, the stakes of both investors had increased in value by 300 times to roughly $4.3 billion each!

  1. Xiaomi

When Xiaomi went public with an IPO in 2018 at a valuation of $54 billion in 2018, it became the world’s third most valuable smartphone manufacturer. The biggest beneficiary of this offering was Morningside Ventures, which earned 40 times the amount it had originally invested. It turned out to be one of the most successful investments of the firm.

  1. Spotify

Creandum invested $4.5 million in Spotify for 6% stake of equity when the company was still growing. However, when it took the IPO route in 2018, the stake was valued at $370 million. So, it really generated a massive ROI of 80x!

  1. GitHub

In what’s considered one of the biggest US venture-backed acquisitions in the past 10 years, software giant Microsoft paid a whopping $7.5 billion for start-up GitHub in June 2018. Interestingly, when Andreessen Horowitz invested $100 million in the company in 2012, many industry stakeholders called that a bad investment. Well, we all know who is smiling now.

  1. Ele.me

Alibaba might be an e-commerce giant today, but it failed to create a strong presence in the brick-and-mortar delivery space that other leaders like Meituan and Tencent were able to succeed in. So, when it invested $1.25 billion in local delivery startup Ele.me in 2016, it knew the risks. Fortunately, the company became a success and grew at an exponential rate. In fact, it was soon registering orders to around 40 million customers and generating $9.5 million worth of orders per day!

There you go- the top 10 most profitable investments that were ever made in history. Which story did you find the most fascinating? Let us know in the comments section below.

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